March 27, 2015 1:28:02 am
With over Rs 1 lakh crore worth of bids in the aggressively contested spectrum auction, the government on Thursday insisted that it would not lead to higher call rates while nudging telcos to pay some of the upfront money over the next six days to help it meet the fiscal deficit target for 2014-15.
Aditya Birla Group firm Idea Cellular, followed by Sunil Bharti Mittal’s Airtel and UK’s Vodafone bid the most aggressively in the 19-day auction conducted in115 rounds that concluded on Wednesday.
Cumulatively, these three players put in bids worth Rs 89,396.92 crore, which is nearly a third of the total value of bids. Telcos will have to pay Rs 28,872 crore as upfront money within 10 days but telecom minister Ravi Shankar Prasad is keen that they pay the money within six days to help meet the fiscal deficit target of 4.1 per cent of the GDP in 2014-15.
“I am seeing a huge campaign that mobile rates will go up. A person very familiar with telecom industry has given me analysis. The spectrum will be with operators for 20 years. As per the analysis, the yearly load on telecom operators is going to be about Rs 5,300 crore … and 1.3 paise per minute call,” Prasad said, adding that he will appeal to telecom operators to pay by March 31.
“We still have six days in this financial year. National revenue is equally important and the image of the country,” he stressed. Finance minister Arun Jaitley had on Wednesday expressed hope that some of the revenue from the auction would be deposited in the current fiscal.
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